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Braun, Johnson Win Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon

Seven runners qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in San Jose on Sunday.

Colorado’s Aaron Braun and Arizona’s Kellyn Johnson took top honors at the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon, winning in 1:02:57 and 1:12:31. Braun won his first U.S. national title last year at the U.S. 12k championships and Johnson is the reigning U.S. 25k National Champion.

“I knew it was a competitive field,” Braun said. “This time last year [second-place finisher] Jeff [Eggleston] and I both ran the Boston Half Marathon. I went out a little too hard and he flew by me the last few miles so that played in to my strategy this time knowing that I did not want to fight off too much the first half of the race and have that happen again. I played it a little more safe this time and tried to go for the win.”

In the women’s race, Johnson, 28, finished nearly two minutes up on second-place finisher Renee Metivier Baillie, 32, of Bend, Ore. (1:14:24). Addie Bracie, 28, from Longmont, Colo. was third in 1:14:44. Jenna Boren De Nucci, 37, from Menlo Park, Calif. (fourth, 1:15:10) and Lauren Johnson, 35, of Portland, Ore. (fifth, 1:15:38) rounded out the top five.

“Today was tougher than I had hoped,” said Johnson. I went out with the plan trying to run under 71 because this is a fast course so I wanted to take advantage of that and it just did not happen. Around mile 6 I realized that it was not going to happen and took it for what it was and fortunately it was good enough to win.”

Braun and Johnson lead 7 athletes qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016. The ninth edition of California’s fastest half marathon took place Sunday morning in downtown San Jose. The event is home to both of the current California state half-marathon records: 1:00:22, set by Kenya’s Duncan Kibet in 2006, and 1:09:17, established by Silvia Skortsova of Russia in 2006. Photos: PhotoRun.net